By MELISSA CABRAL
Donald Trump backpedalled his promise to pay the legal fees of his supporters who are turning violent at his rallies when the subject was brought up on his interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
“By paying those fees, wouldn’t you be rewarding and encouraging violence?” asked host George Stephanopoulous.
At one of his recent rallies in February, Trump controversially told his supporters who became violent towards protesters: “Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”
After the “Good Morning America” host continued to press him on the matter, Trump denied ever saying those words.
“No, no I didn’t say that. I haven’t looked at it yet, and nobody’s asked me to pay for fees, and somebody asked me a question and I haven’t even seen it, so I never said I was going to pay for fees,” the Republican presidential candidate said.
As recently as this past Sunday, Trump was still promising to monetarily take care of his supporters when it came to legal fees regarding violence.
In his interview on “Meet the Press,” which aired Sunday, Trump said that he had his staff “look into” covering the legal fees of one supporter in particular who punched a protester at his rally held in North Carolina last Wednesday.
“I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes,” Trump replied when asked about paying the fees.
Tuesday’s interview had Trump conveniently retracting and even denying his previous statements. When asked if telling his supporters that he would cover their legal fees if they became violent towards his protesters would be encouraging negative behavior he seemed to have a change of heart.
“Well maybe so, and maybe that’s why I wouldn’t do it. I don’t condone violence at all, and you know I looked and I watched and I’m going to make a decision.”
This statement comes after intense criticism of his campaign after several of his rallies became chaotic and violent last week.